Letterkenny Rovers advanced to the semi finals of the Ulster Youth Cup after a 2-1 win over Carndonagh in a pulsating quarter final encounter on a very hot evening at Leckview Park on Tuesday.
Letterkenny Rovers 2 Carndonagh 1
Rovers looked to have the game won when Ryan O’Donnell put them 2-0 ahead with 14 minutes to go but a stoppage time penalty from Chris Diver ensured some anxious moments for Rovers who were deserving winners in the end nonetheless and they advance to a semi final meeting this Friday away to Fanad Utd.
Rovers started the brighter and the lively Clinton Ilupeju just fired wide on 3 minutes while Jordan Gallaghers deflected effort hit the crossbar on 13 minutes as Rovers came out of the blocks sharp.
Gallagher then brought out a to notch stop from Carn netminder Daniel McCallion while Ruairi Dennehy should have scored with a 23rd minute header from a teasing Gavin McGee corner.
Carn though started to get a grip on proceedings with Adam McLaughlin, Cade Cooke and Conor Gillen particularly lively and it was McLaughlin who will rue not firing his side ahead on 32 minutes when running onto a long clearance but he could not keep his shot down when looking set to score and blazed over.
Cooke then shot narrowly wide and the impressive Josh Conlon shaved the post with a header as Carn enjoyed a real purple patch but crucially it was the home side who went ahead on 42 minutes.
Another McGee corner evaded everyone and fell to Brandon Manues and he rifled one in from 16 yards high to the roof of the net giving McCallion no chance.
Rovers were delighted with their interval lead and started the second half the brighter with the first chance of note another Dennehy header well over wile Gallagher forced another save having been teed up by Conor Friel.
Carn though again came close through McLaughlin and Conlon while Rovers had strong penalty claims waved away by match referee Mick Lagan on 70 minutes when Friel and McCallion collided an it was the Carn goalkeeper who came off worse and he had to be replaced in goal by Aaron Doherty.
Rovers then doubled the advantage on 76 minutes when Ryan O’Donnell capitalised on a short backpass and kept his composure to fire home.
Rovers then had chances to seal the game through subs Sean McGinley, Brandlon Ndlovu and Nathan Plumb but they came and went while Carn though pressed forward in droves and got one back on 92 minutes when Chris Diver fired home from the spot after Darren Ferry was penalised for a goalline handball and he was shown a red card.
With a substantial amount of injury time to be played Carn sensed a dramatic comeback and forced a number of corners and free kicks but the Rovers defence well marshalled by goalkeeper Aaron Hepburn who held firm for the win.
Letterkenny Rovers: Aaron Hepburn, Darren Ferry, Jerry Obi,Thomas Keys, Ruairi Dennehy, Gavin McGee, Conor Friel, Clinton Ilupeju, Ryan O’Donnell, Jordan Gallagher, Brandon Manues. Subs used: Brandon Ndlovu, Cain McMonagle, Sean McGinley, Nathan Plumb, James Kernan
Carn: Daniel McCallion, Chris Diver, Donal Doherty, Josh Conlon, Christy McDaid, Lorcan Bradley, David Henry, Adam McLaughlin, Conor Gillen, Cade Cooke, Gavin Rowan. Subs used: Mark Scott, Mark Doherty, Paddy Monagle. Darragh Doherty, Anthony Doherty, Darragh McCormack
Referee: Mick Lagan